REQUIREMENTS FOR ATTORNEYS
To All KZNLS Members
In terms of the above mentioned Act, ALL legal firms through its partners, directors, professional assistants and consultants are regarded as Accountable Institutions with certain duties.
Such duties include inter alia:
(1) Registering their firm with the Financial Centre (Sec 43B)
Ø Applications for registration must be submitted to the Centre electronically by means of an internet-based portal at the Centre’s internet address http://www.fic.gov.za;
Ø If any of a firm’s particulars change, such change must be reported to the Centre within 90 days ;
Ø If an attorneys firm conducts a branch office(s) it is a requirement to register the branch office(s) separately;
Ø Failure to register will attract severe penalties and fines.
(2) Appointing a Compliance Officer (Sec 43)
Ø Such an appointment must be formally recorded;
Ø The person appointed must ensure and certify with the Centre compliance by the Accountable Institution.
(3) Developing a set of Internal Rules (Sec 42)
Ø Firms must develop a set of internal rules setting out procedures and duties of the Accountable Institution;
Ø Such internal rules must be documented in a Manual together with a Precedent Manual which must be made available to the Centre at its request;
Ø Firms must make its internal rules available to each of its employees
(4) Providing for regular training of all staff members (Sec 43)
Ø Firms must ensure that their internal rules provide for regular training of all staff members;
Ø Training must be documented.
(5) Reporting of cash thresholds / suspicious / unusual transactions
Ø If moneys are received or paid in or from the trust or the business banking account in cash above the threshold of R25 000, a report must be made to the Centre (Sec 28);
Ø Client’s identity must be established and verified in those instances where the Exemptions as per the Regulations are applicable (Sec 21and Regulations: Part 4 Sec 10);
Ø Records of such identity verification process must be kept and retained for a period of five (5) years (Sec 22);
Ø If a suspicious or unusual transaction comes to the attention of an attorney, a report must be made to the Centre within 48 hours (Sec 29).
The Provincial Law Societies alternately the Attorneys Fidelity Fund will replace the Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) as a Supervisory Body and Inspections will be conducted shortly. ALL firms are therefore obliged to allow an Inspector from the Centre / Supervisory Body access to its office and records to determine compliance with the Act (Sec 45 and Sec 45A).
Members were notified of the above in our Circular referenced 2/2010.
Amended 26 June 2012